Movie Review: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ insightful fun
“Crazy Rich Asians” is loaded.
It’s loaded with glitz, humor and heart. It’s a film that’s deeper than its title would indicate.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is the Cinderella and her prince story transported from medieval Europe to 21st-century Asia.
The storyline has its roots in the 17th century fairy tale, “Cendrillon,” by French writer Charles Perrault, with a stop along the way at Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, “Pride And Prejudice,” all the way up to HBO’s “Sex And The City” (1998-2004).
In “Crazy Rich Asians,” Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a brilliant economics professor at New York University, accompanies her boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore.
Rachel discovers that Nick is wealthy beyond belief. She’s introduced to his disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh), his quirky family, and rich party-hearty acquaintances. Nick must choose between his love for Rachel and his loyalty to his mother and the family business.
The plot is somewhat beside the point in “Crazy Rich Asians,” which entertains with over-the-top performances, lavish costumes, beautiful homes, luxury items, and fast cars. We are given a glimpse into what purports to be the lifestyles of the Asian rich and famous.
The movie is based on the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy of novels (2013, 2014) by Kevin Kwan: “Rich Asians,” “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems.”
“Crazy Rich Asians” is said to be the first film in about 25 years by a major Hollywood studio to feature Asian-Americans in leading roles since “The Joy Luck Club” (1993).
Jon M. Chu (director, “Now You See Me 2,” 2016; “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” 2016; “Step Up 2: The Streets,” 2008) creates good dialogue and interaction scenes between the main characters, manages well the lavish dinner, party and wedding scenes, and provides a good mix of laughter and tears in the romantic comedy from a screenplay by Peter Chiarelli (“Now You See Me 2”; “The Proposal,” 2009) and Adele Lim (theatrical movie screenplay debut).
“Crazy Rich Asians” has the sense of a classic Hollywood film with Henry Golding as a dashing Cary Grant and Constance Wu as a vivacious Deborah Kerr, somewhat as in “An Affair To Remember” (1957).
The emphasis in the title is on “crazy rich,” as in super-wealthy Asians, and not necessarily on the mental state of Asians.
Golding (theatrical movie debut) is one of the most striking screen presences in years. He’s dashing and likable. Wu (TV’s “Fresh Off The Boat,” 2015-18) is unassuming and charming.
Notable in supporting role performances are Gemma Chan (stunning and sensitive), Nico Santos (hilarious), Lisa Lu (dignified), Ken Jeong (silly) and Nora Lum, aka Awkwafina (improvisational magnificence).
“Crazy Rich Asians” is the surprise summer 2018 hit. It’s crazy fun. Don’t miss it.
“Crazy Rich Asians,” MPAA rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for some suggestive content and language; Genre: Comedy, Romance; Run time: 1 hr., 20 mins.; Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Credit Readers Anonymous: The final scene in “Crazy Rich Asians” was filmed atop the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Other Singapore locations include Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove, Raffles Hotel, and the Chijmes Hall 19th-century chapel. Scenes were filmed in Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Stella McCartney designed the animal-print PJs worn by Awkwafina. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is sung by Kina Grannis. “Money (That’s What I Want)” is sung by Cheryl K. A Cantonese-language version Madonna’s “Material Girl” is sung by Sally Yeh. During the end credits, there’s a scene with Astrid (Gemma Chan) and Charlie Wu (Harry Shum, Jr.), indicating a possible sequel.
Box Office, Aug. 17: “Crazy Rich Asians,” one of those movies that has transcended the entertainment pages and become a topic du jour, was crazy-rich at the box office, opening at No. 1 with $25.2 million, weekend; $34 million, since opening Aug. 15, sinking “The Meg” one slot to No. 2 with $21.1 million, $83.7 million, two weeks, keeping “Mile 22” opening at No. 3, with $13.6 million, and “Alpha” opening at No. 4 with $10.5 million.
5. “Mission: Impossible - Fallout” dropped three slots, $10.5 million, $180.7 million, four weeks. 6. “Disney’s Christopher Robin” dropped three slots, $8.8 million, $66.9 million, three weeks. 7. “BlacKkKlansman” dropped two slots, $7 million, $23 million, two weeks. 8. “Slender Man” slipped four slots, $4.9 million, $20.7 million, two weeks. 9. “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” stayed booked at No. 9 with $3.6 million, $153.8 million, six weeks. 10. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” again danced down three spots, $3.3 million, $111.2 million, five weeks.
Unreel, Aug. 24:
“The Happytime Murders,” R: Brian Henson directs Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and Elizabeth Banks in the comedy-drama. The puppet stars of the TV show, “The Happytime Gang,” are mysteriously disappearing.
“Papillon,” R: Michael Noer directs Charlie Hunnam, Rami Malek and Roland Moller in the crime thriller. A safecracker and a counterfeiter try to escape from prison.
“Searching,” PG-13: Aneesh Chaganty directs John Cho, Debra Messing and Joseph Lee in the crime drama. A father uses computer forensics to try to locate his missing daughter.
Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes